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August 18, 2017 4 min read
Sage Salt HD Review- Wisconsin Style! I had the good fortune to fish many of the new products from Sage, Redington, and Rio this past week. On a visit to Northern Wisconsin, I spent 3 days fishing the Sage Salt HD Fly Rod, Sage Foundation Fly Rod, Redington Crux Fly Rod, and much much more. My host on the trip was Dave Gellatly (our Sage, Redington, and Rio Rep). What a host he was! Despite some cool and wet weather, we experienced excellent fishing for smallmouth bass, northern pike, and had some good shots (and brief hook ups) with muskies! Now onto the detailed review of the Sage Salt HD. Stay tuned in the coming days for reviews of the Sage Foundation Rod, Sage Spectrum Reels, and Redington Crux Rod.
The Salt HD is a fantastic rod. Don’t let the Salt in Salt HD fool you. This rod is perfectly at home in many freshwater fishing situations. When fishing for bass, carp, pike, etc this rod will deliver. The lifting power of a saltwater rod really works well with those freshwater fish too.
On this trip I fished the 790-4 and 890-4 extensively. We had the 1190-4 (9′ 11 weight) in the boat; Dave and Robert threw huge musky flies on the 11 weight lined with a rio outbound short fly line. I wish I had made time to try the 990-4 and 690-4, but those will have to wait for the next fishing trip! Here is what I thought of the 790-4 and 890-4.
Sage Salt HD 790-4 Most of the trip we had the 790-4 Salt HD lined with a Rio Smallmouth Bass fly line- which by the way shares a taper with the Rio Bonefish Line. This rod was incredible in the hand. Super light and could throw short and long with accuracy. The new Salt HD has a great feel when casting off the tip. This isn’t a slow rod by any means, it has tons of power. However, you can feel the rod load off the tip of the rod and get a great sense of the timing of the cast. The 790-4 throws great in close and will boom out a long cast both with tight loops and pinpoint accuracy. We fished poppers, sliders, and mouse patterns for smallmouth bass and the 790-4 handled them all great. It also had plenty of power fighting these heavy fish in fast current. Don’t rule out the 790-4 as a great warmwater stick. I haven’t fished this rod in the saltwater, but I can tell you if you rigged this rod with the Rio Bonefish Line (remember this line shares the taper with Smallmouth Bass Line) it would be an incredible bonefish rod. When wading bonefish flats, sometimes the shots are really close in and then there are times you need to fire a long cast. Based on the accuracy and range of distances I could achieve with this rod on the river, I can see it being a go to choice for wading flats in Mexico where I spend a week every year.
Sage Salt HD 890-4 Fly Rod (9′ 8 weight 4 Piece) The 890-4 Salt HDis a super all around warmwater rod (and I’m certain saltwater stick too!). We lined this up with the Rio Smallmouth line and the InTouch Big Nasty. Over the three days I got to fish this rod alongside the 890-4 X Rod. Both are great tools. The Sage Salt HD 890-4 will definitely be a superb choice for boat fishing and longer casts in windy conditions. It has more power than the X Rod. However, the great thing about the Salt HD 890-4 is that like the 7 weight it still handles short casts very well.
On the second day of the trip we fished the 890-4 on open water on Lake Superior. It was a great experience that mimicked saltwater fishing, especially since we were casting from from the deck of a flats boat. We fished for smallmouth bass on rock outcroppings and on sandy flats. You would be hard pressed to find a more salty experience in freshwater, save maybe for big carp on Lake Michigan. When the wind picked up the Salt HD was able to toss both sidearm and backhanded casts right on target.
Overall the Sage Salt HD has a great feel in the hand, is very lightweight, generates great line speed and tight loops. The cosmetics are great. When this almost black blank gets in the sun you get a great dark blue (squid ink) color that comes alive. Like the X Rod, it has the line weight indicator above the reel, so that you can see what line weight rod you are picking up from the rod rack in the boat. If you are in the market for a premium saltwater and warmwater fly rod you will be very pleased. I hate to have a review that has no downsides, but I really enjoyed fishing this rod and will be getting a 790-4 and 990-4 to replace my Sage One Rods in those line weights. If there is a downside its that at $950 these aren’t inexpensive rods by any stretch. If you forget the word Salt and use it for double duty fishing both warmwater and in the salt you won’t have a rod that sits idle until the next trip down south.
We fished the Salt rods this week with the Sage Spectrum Reels. After fishing these reels I would recommend matching the Spectrum LT for the lighter weight Salt HD rods and the Spectrum Max with the heavier rods. These reels have excellent machining and very good drag systems. Shop Sage Spectrum Reels
Have questions about the Sage Salt HD Rod? shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call 605-341-2450, or stop by the shop!
Check back for more on the new Sage Foundation Fly Rod, Sage Spectrum Reel Family, and the Redington Crux!
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